Education Ministry meets with UTECH after staff and students protest over government subvention

by February 20th, 2019

A meeting involving the Education Ministry and representatives from the University of Technology is reportedly still underway, following a demonstration at the institution this morning (February 20).

The meeting, which is being held at the Finance Ministry, is addressing issues to do with salary adjustment, duty concession and the remuneration package for staff employed to the university.

The Education Ministry noted that a verification of the post audit commenced today, and the relevant documentation is being prepared for submission to the Cabinet.

Lecturers and other academic staff joined in the protest this morning to express their frustration over their salaries which they say are lower than industry standards.

Utech’s Students’ Union, had issued the call to students to wear black today, to symbolise their discontent with what they say is the disregard shown to the university by the government.

President of the Utech Students’ Union, Tia Ferguson, said Utech students feel slighted, as they continue to receive inadequate support from the government.

She said if action is not forthcoming from the government, the protest will continue.

Meanwhile , the unions that represent staff at the University of Technology, Utech, have decried the disparity in government subvention to the institution, when compared to other schools.

This morning, staff and students at Utech staged a demonstration at the entrance to the school, calling attention to the situation.

In a joint statement today, the University of Technology Academic Staff Union, the University of Technology Jamaica Administrative Staff Association and the University and Allied Workers Union said, the chronic under-funding of Utech by the government has been a long-standing issue and remains unchanged despite numerous initiatives by numerous stakeholders.

The groups said the recent and continued non-consideration of increased financial support to Utech, prompted the staff and students to voice their frustrations today and appeal to government for an increase in the subvention.

They said Utech inherited government programmes such as Nursing, Midwifery, Oral Health and Public Health without the necessary infrastructure or financial support.

The groups added that the absence of adequate funding at Utech has imposed hardships and a difficult working environment upon staff and students.

They said notwithstanding, Utech, Jamaica has maintained academic excellence at great personal sacrifice and has delivered to the nation, thousands of skilled professionals.

The unions however stress that if the national university is to continue on this path of excellence, there needs to be an urgent and significant injection of funds.

They said government subvention to Utech is significantly lower than those given to UWI, CASE, Edna Manley as well as community colleges and high schools, and that this appalling disparity cannot be justified and must be corrected with dispatch.